Prime Days: The New Black Friday

Check out our favorite deals from Amazon Prime’s Two Day Event in 2020

Every single year, Amazon gives us some of the best deals of the year… the two hardest parts are figuring out when to stop adding things to your court and how long you can hold out saving your husband’s Christmas gift in the closet.

Below you’ll find a list of the top items for everyone on your list, from your kids, to your spouse, parents, grandparents, and each and everyone in between.

Madden 21 – For both PS4 and XBOX (and it has Lamar Jackson on the cover)

Pickup Madden 21 for $29.99!! (retail $60)



How about a microwave that connects to Alexa?

Did you know that you could buy a microwave that connects to Alexa? Yep, so when you’re running late in the morning you can say, ” Hey Alexa, reheat my coffee!’

Pickup a MicroWave PLUS an Amazon Echo Dot for $59.99, retail $109.99!!

128GB Micro SD Card + 12 months of Free Nintendo Switch Family Membership for the Gamer in Your Life!

128GB Micro SD Card PLUS 12 months of Nintendo Switch Family Membership, $39.99! (retail $69.99)

A true man’s man gift and a STEAL for the FATHER, GRANDFATHER, BROTHER, UNCLE, or SON in your life!

Dewalt Drill Driver Bundle for $99, retail $228!!

This next product has been one of the best sellers! This Prime Day Item is perfect for the dog mom, clean freak, or Tom Haverford in your life – the NEW Roomba!

NEW Roomba for $199, retail $319!!

COFFEE ALERT! This next product is for the coffee lover in your life. Sometimes you can’t just slide through your local coffee shop to get a latte, americano or a macchiato. Sometimes you just want a single cup of coffee without making a whole pot. With this new Nespresso machine you can make several types of drinks all with the same machine.

Nespresso Coffee and Espresso Machine Bundle for $119, retail $240!!

Do you need a new 50″ 4K Smart TV? Look no further.

50″ 4k Dolby Vision HDR Smart TV for $229!!!

Do you like relaxing outside under the stars? How about underneath some solar powered stars?

9ft Patio Umbrella With LED Solar Lights only $46! (Chairs not included)

*Use code; FX874Z5H

For the fisherman or fisherwoman in your life, this gift is almost too perfect.

Garmin Oregon 750T for $249.99, retail $549!

For the golfer in your life (or to spoil yourself)

Garmin Approach S40, GPS Golf Watch, $199, retail $299!

5 left so act quickly!

For the techie in your life, get the BRAND NEW Macbook Air Retina

NEW MacBook Air Retina for $849, retail $999 – Latest Model

*$100 off applies at checkout*

*****Early (Member Exclusive) Prime Day Deal so act fast!

3 months of Kindle Unlimited for FREE!

(retail $30!)

1080p Home Security Camera

ONLY $19.99!! (retail $49.99!)

Save $30 with code; UWWDUWWD

Sit Stand Desk for only $269!!

50ft LED Strip Lights – for $14.49 you’ll be the coolest parent of the year!

*coupon PLUS code; 40SEDM3V


10 Awesomely Affordable Things To Do In Jacksonville, Florida

Florida’s rich atmosphere of humidity and ocean air isn’t for everyone, but for most of us, it’s paradise. Every once in a while I’ll get up early on a Tuesday or Wednesday and make my way down to the Jacksonville Beach Pier to get a few sets in on my surfboard, creating the best type of board meeting there is. Then I hop in the truck, after I change into my suit & tie, and charge forward down JTB like Jon Snow in the Battle of the Bastards scene, with hopes that there will be no absurd ‘one banger’ accidents, as I like to refer to them. The ones where there is minimal damage and six JPD cops. (By the way, what’s up with Jacksonville drivers? I swear none of them know how to merge.) We all need a release from our 9-5 lifestyle, our stay-at-home routine, or our small business management. Here are some ways to let off steam for everyone, even if they can’t spend a whole lot of money on the weekends.

forced perspective photography of cars running on road below smartphone

I truly believe Jacksonville is one of the most affordable destinations in Florida. Jacksonville offers millennials and families the chance to have an amazing time.


Here’s 10 awesome things to do in Jacksonville. Most are free or affordable. We love to show off our city and we think we have a pretty cool hometown. Check out some of the things you can do in Jacksonville, Florida.

  1. Looking for a cool new spot to troll? Under a bridge in downtown Jacksonville lies one of the coolest events that happens every Saturday. Grab a beer or a homeade lemonade by the St. John’s River and fill your ears with live music, fill your stomach with awesome food and local crafts at the Riverside Arts Market. Check out out client Coin Rings By MJ while you’re there. He creates rings out of old coins and they are uniquely awesome. Livin’ The Dream Sand Creations is another booth to check out, you can create unique items out of sand to bring home as an eclectic souvenir. (They work great as presents for people that didn’t get to come with you to such a cool town, grandparents love these as gifts, and the kids get to make them all by themselves.) It’s a great experience!
  2. Are you a history buff? Want to learn more about Jacksonville? Learn about the heritage of Florida’s First Coast beach communities at the Beaches Museum & History Park. Gone with the Wind more your style? You can also check out Kingsley Plantation, the oldest Plantation house in Florida. While you’re here, you’ve got to check out Fort Caroline National Memorial in the Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve where families can explore a replica fort built by the first European settler’s and artifacts from the days of the Timucuan Indians.
  3. The best thing about our area is the beaches, pure and simple. Spend the day at Jacksonville Beach, building sandcastles and hunting for sharks teeth. Ask locals for ideas on where to look for teeth, me personally? I really like how Shark Teeth Hunters does it. They have a program for the whole family to learn how to find shark’s teeth. Give them a call, 904-206-7494, when we went we found like twenty teeth! Super fun and inexpensive.
  4. More of an outdoor, adventurer type? Bike the trails over at Fowler Regional Park. This place has some pretty in-depth history. First leased by the Navy, then a councilwoman by the name of Tillie Fowler began to push the county to decelop the land.  Remnants of an 16-foot wide brick road linked Ortega to Jacksonville and can be found all over the park.  The road is dated roughly around 1917 but was heavily used when Camp Johnston was built for preparations to train American troops during World War I.  Go for a hike and explore Jacksonville’s green areas at the Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens. 
  5. Is art your thing? Do you like unique, eclectic gifts to bring home to your family while also supporting local artists? Visit dozens of local galleries during ArtWalk every first Wednesday of the month, they turn out some pretty cool stuff.
  6. Take a tour of local breweries and enjoy a free beer tasting, try The Green Room or Engine 15.
  7. Ride the Jacksonville Skyway. It connects the Southbank’s Museum of Science and History and Friendship Fountain with the Northbank’s Jacksonville Landing in downtown Jacksonville.
  8. Animal lover? It can be a little pricey, but what can you expect with a place dedicated to rescued lions and tigers, but no bears. It even houses Michael Jackson’s lion! Say hello the The Catty Shack. Better than a zoo, this place is special, especially for cat lovers. The Catty Shack houses 29 leopards, cougars and tigers. It’s an opportunity to get up close and personal with some of God’s most majestic creatures. It’s a non-profit, as well, so look at it as a donation!
  9. Tour Sally Corporation, makers of animatronics and dark rides. Tours are offered hourly on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9-1 p.m. (every month except July & August). Tours are FREE of charge but you must make a reservation.
  10. Technology and architecture? Yes please! Friendship Fountain located on the Southbank of Downtown Jacksonville is a perfect spot day or night for a photo op. While you’re there check out the beautiful views and take in the skyline. While you’re there go grab a drink at River City Brewing, where you can even bring fido along.

    light sunset people water                      None of this was paid for, this was all strictly my opinion.

Changing the Start-Up Game: The Three Innovators Who Thought They Could


Some of the best start-up company stories that have ever been told began mostly in garages and bedrooms. The best stories begin with humble beginnings and patience, mixed with an exuberant amount of creativity, courage and kahunas. Sometimes, we ourselves find ourselves at a loss words when a business venture doesn’t go as planned or a suddenly you are unemployed. Does what kill you make you stronger? Are you pushing to reach your maximum potential? I would say if you aren’t, you should. The only competition you should face every morning is yourself. Get better at what you do. Do what you do best. Each and every one of these start-up companies started with something crazy and ended up with some other crazies buying a heck of a lot of it. Make way for incredible stories.


Walt Disney Company


Walt Disney

Walt Disney grew up in stinkin’ Missouri, y’all. That’s not what you would assume if you’ve ever been to any of his phenomenal parks (Orlando is our favorite, of course!) you will know that this could only come from a mind of wanting something more. A mind wandering through life looking for more is bound to find it if it searches hard enough. Disney decided he would draw it. A retired neighbor ended up influenced Disney to pursue his passion for drawing by paying him to draw pictures of his horse. Can you imagine? Drawing pictures of Nelly allows Disney the catapult from which to gain absolute stardom? He later went on to learn how to make commercials, became a newspaper cartoonist, and as we all know and love, become the face of animation worldwide as the golden age of Disney is still going strong today.


Yankee Candle Company


At 16, Michael Kittredge from Massachusetts had a dilemma. He had nothing to buy his mama for Christmas. So, he melted some crayons laying around, 1969 was a crazy year, and some Yankee NEIGHBOR saw the candle and offered to purchase it (Do you see a trend starting?) I bet it didn’t smell like pumpkin spice, yet either! He used his profits to to double his original intention, by creating mum one and making another one he could sell (probably to yet another neighbor). From this man grew another strange American Dream, the brand Yankee Candle Company, which was just sold for just under 2 billion dollars last year. All it took for Mikey was some crayons, a lighter, and a dream.


Under Armour


Nowadays we don’t have to worry about running in just t-shirts. Now, we have all types and sizes of varieties of work-out gear attire to choose from, thanks in part largely to a former fullback from the University of Maryland. Kevin Plank was sick and tired of always having to bring extra shirts and swap them out in between plays underneath his jersey. He noticed something stranger, that those compression shorts he wore stayed completely dry. So, a plan erupted. In his grandmother’s basement he revolutionized the sportswear industry by creating a shirt using moisture-wicking synthetic fabric. Under Armour is now one of the most recognizable brands in the world, second only to fellow sports titan, Nike.


Under Armour is also recently gained new ground. They are now the official MLB team uniform maker and has an arsenal of awesome sports icons to choose from, like Steph Curry.


All of this has happened because some sweaty kid wanted a different way of living and chased his thoughts into reality.

Do you see a trend forming? Sell to your neighbors and friends first. See where it gets you. If they like your work, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes another fulfilled American Dream. YOU’VE GOT THIS.

Keep pushing and let stories like these inspire you to do what’s different. Go towards your end goal with a prize always in site. Do you want to build a business? Grow one? Do you want to quit and become a private investigator? Or have an awesome idea to upgrade boccie ball? Do you want to keep going even though you failed on your Firefighter exam? Do you want to throw your hands up and say ‘it is what it is’? Or do you shake off the dust, get back on your feet, and get to work? It’s up to you to decide.


Images were taken by Getty Images

Leaves of Grass: For the Love of Democracy and The Civil War



For the Love of Democracy:
Comradery in Poetry During the American Civil War
Walt Whitman stirs up brotherhood while the country stirs up strife

The onset of the American Civil War caused the country to split in two. Through this separation, a writer by the name of Walt Whitman gave meaning and inspiration to the common man, amongst other poets and writers alike, during a time when poetry was stuck in rules and regulations. Through his groundbreaking poetry, Walt Whitman was able to do the impossible by ripping up the rulebook and giving into his idea of how poetry should be written. His ability to foster comradery during a time of war and encourage individualistic thinking helped usher in a new era of American writing, creativity, and expression. Walt Whitman was able to inspire a new generation to write war poetry in all forms of expression, but especially through their own experience, depicting what happens inside of a man during a time of war. Whitman successfully managed to spread his prose not just by himself, but with the same comradery he preached to the masses about, with the special help of a fellow peer and poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson. Their relationship helped to solidify Whitman’s role as America’s new poet. The poetic freedom in Leaves of Grass was revolutionary and pioneered a whole new pathway for poetry and prose, no longer would poetry stick to laws of old. Whitman was not rigid, nor was he a conformist, and his poetry was carefully concocted to be unorthodox and witty. Whitman dedicated himself to writing down his own soul on paper. As Hemingway once said, “There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” His poetry defined himself as a man, and the man helped to define the poetry he wrote, which was something that no one at that time was doing. This process of writing was not confined and it allowed for self-discovery and self-expression in its most transparent of forms.

Whitman was by all accounts a writer for the common man. Brash, arrogant, romantic, witty, obscene, self-reliant, experienced a tough upbringing but became strong by it, inventive, creative, inwardly focused and outwardly quiet, and a product of gregarious New York City. He was free love before the era of the 1960’s coined the phrase. He was challenging and rebellious, but he was also confident and smart. A transcendentalist and a romanticist, a true poet. Walt Whitman was a lover of many and compassionate to all men and had an adamant love for democracy, but he also believed in self; self-sustaining reassurance, self-proclamations, self-service, self-reliance. This in turn, over time and aging, most assuredly led to extensive self-examination. These things helped to shape, mold, and build up Whitman. In its truest and simplest terms, this is the Romanticist way of thought. Romanticism is described by Dr. Anna Lillois in Lyrical Ballads in 1798, as having “Emphasis on the individual subjective self, belief in the feeling, emotional self vs. the reasoning self, Preoccupation with human development through time, especially of childhood, Sense of union with nature; events of nature are mirrored in psyche.  Belief in fusion, synthesis, harmony—part of the chain of being, Sympathy with the common person and his/her humble life, Organization of poetry and the novel around central myths, images, and symbols.” (Lillois, 832).

During battle, one truly must get to know oneself, one’s brother next to him, the enemy, and the territory. Much like all of the symbols found in Whitman’s writings; Individualism, Transcendentalism, Romanticism, and Democracy. Whitman knows that although not everyone will experience war, most of us will experience love of country, love of self, and love of another person. His writing contributed vastly in creating individuals through comradery, whether it is through men at war (man and man), as a religious relationship (man and God), or even a romantic relationship, which in turn contributes to the cultivation of a thriving society and more intellectually rounded individuals. America’s society is to become united in spirit when it becomes Whitman’s utopia. Searching for the betterment of self through philosophical thinking, education, art, love, democracy, and honoring oneself and one’s country through service of some kind. He helped to foster thoughtful individuals by creating thought-evoking poetry in his groundbreaking publication of Leaves of Grass. This publication spurred a new generation of thinkers and writers alike; radicals such as Henry David Thoreou, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Edgar Allen Poe, Oscar Wilde, and the President of the United States himself, Mr. Abraham Lincoln were hooked on the free verse and transparency Whitman delivered. During the Transcendentalist movement, Walt became the centerpiece, mascot, and for some, even as a muse, for the new age of poetry and prose. Walt sparked the Transcendentalist fire that would later become a collection of some of the most explosive poets and scholars of that time by unifying his fellow man by appealing to their heart through comradery.


During a time of genuine upheaval in America after the Civil War, one thing that most men could relate to was the crucible of combat. This burden was something all men would carry with them to their graves – the times spent both on and off the field. Walt used this special comradery that existed amongst soldiers and men and shared it clearly and without reserve to the political thinkers of the world, in this era, that may not have otherwise had the opportunity to experience it outside of Walt’s writings. Different from all other wartime poetry can be found in the pages of Leaves of Grass. The wartime prose and depictions of what went on during a time of battle can be a way for the soldier or writer to ease their mind from worry while on the battlefield, or while one’s country is in war. Leaves of Grass resulted in a new generation of wartime poets. Whitman’s influence would spread beyond his own generation and into the next. World War I soldier poets like Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon battled and wrote haunting and unforgettable poetry depicting the Great War. The beneficial work of Leaves of Grass made poetry palatable to everyone, even the man on the battlefield. Whitman’s influence would spread beyond his own generation and into the next.

Walt Whitman made his living humbly as a printing apprentice and wrote for several papers. He published the first copy of Leaves of Grass himself in 1855 and he was met with hostile words and overall public disdain, not to mention the country was well on its way to a bloody civil war. Comradery-driven, outspoken, and erotic even, during a time of strict conservation. Despite the naysayers, eventually the book would spread amongst literary figures and common men alike, not as wildfire, but as a simple spark. Whitman decided he would take it upon himself to write anonymous reviews touting Leaves of Grass as something magical, while in actuality it was something his peers taunted and jeered at. Whitman, being the true inventive American that he was, took it upon himself to deliver a copy of Leaves of Grass to Ralph Waldo Emerson, among several other prominent literary figures of the time.

Whitman’s approach to spread the word about his beloved work of art was a scheme that could only be described as crafty and brilliant (and I must say, so very New Yorker). Whitman earned a golden reputation from one of his peers by taking a direct, daring out-of-the-box approach. The art of persuasion paid off when his work was taken seriously after Emerson wrote him a letter touting Leaves of Grass as an achievement. This move, made by Whitman at a time when he could have hung his head in defeat, was crucial in his journey to popularity in the literary world. Emerson resounded over Walt in a letter that Leaves of Grass was indeed a “wonderful gift” and the “most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom that America has yet contributed.” (NY Tribune Oct. 10 1855).

Whitman had a manly, artistic roughness that ruffled feathers, however, his work was undeniably unique. Whitman’s reputation was scandalous, but he was also an innovator. After Emerson’s praise, Whitman used the letter to promote a reprint of the book, unendorsed by Emerson. Emerson never actually agreed to allow Whitman to use it as a foreword, but the rebellious writer did it anyway, showing his boldness rather candidly. Whitman had a lot of nerve and courage to take such a step as to involve a prominent scholarly figure of the time in one of his re-issues, without even a heads-up, notice or notification that he was going to publish it. Whitman was on a mission to get his voice heard and his poetry read, and the act served to skyrocket his career into a form of fame. He was singing the song of himself as loudly as he could, and when no one heard him he stood right outside their doorway and turned up the volume, screaming loudly and boldly.

Ralph Emerson, a man inspired by Whitman, was at the forefront of the Transcendental movement and was keen on self-reliance to better oneself and one’s society. He even wrote an entire essay called “Self Reliance”. Another literary venture by Emerson was a book entitled Society and Solitude, which is rich in prose about the inward struggle of self, versus the need for companionship. The similarities between the two men’s views are blatantly obvious. To Emerson’s generation, Whitman was a superhero. Emerson was a minister’s son and was destined for the same profession of his father until 1932 when he quit the life of ministry to pursue a more meaningful spirituality – poetry.


The core concept of Transcendentalist thinking is the idea that truth goes beyond physical touch and sense in this world. “Trust yourself” would be an appropriate slogan for today’s standards. After becoming deeply entrenched in a sort-of self-reform, most Transcendentalists of the day became politically active and involved in social infrastructure and reformation. Walt Whitman became a muse for Emerson, and the ability to ignite the fire of inspiration amongst poets brought forth a new type of poetry and a new type of brotherhood and comradery amongst the poets and free thinkers of the generation. Free verse was given a whole new meaning. Whitman wrote without rhyme, but with many reasons.

Leaves of Grass, written and re-published a multitude of times ever so carefully by Mr. Whitman, empowered a new generation of thinkers to believe in not only themselves, and comeradery, but in democracy as well. During the outbreak of the Civil War, Whitman chose to nurse wounds and take care of injured soldiers on both the Confederate and Union sides in hospitals in the capitol city of Washington, D.C. He let his words grow legs and become action. Then he decided to run with the democracy he loved so fiercely and work for the cause he carried such a glowing affliction for. He practiced what he preach to those around him, solidifying for them that unity amongst humanity was possible, even in such a tumultuous time. Whitman’s love for service, patriotism and his brotherhood in humanity kept him in America’s capital for eleven years.

During his time of civil service, Whitman worked at three different government positions. But, while he was working, he crossed paths with someone who did not agree with the type of democracy that Whitman so zealously preached. Secretary of the Interior James Harlan fired Whitman while he was working at the Bureau of Indian Affairs as a government clerk when it was found out he was the author of Leaves of Grass. Harlan deemed it too offensive and fired him for his ostentatious views of showering of unity amongst all Americans. What a way to be fired! Whitman was provocative without shame in order to support his love of unity and democracy. Once again met with criticism, he unwaveringly continued in his quest.

Luckily, Whitman had many friends; one of which was a man named William Douglas O’Connor, who took it upon himself to defend and support Whitman. He managed to find a new job for Whitman at the Attorney General’s Office and he even published a pamphlet entitled The Good Gray Poet: A Vindication. This move helped Whitman immensely, as it is still said to this day, any publicity, good or bad, is still publicity. The poetic works of Walt Whitman emboldened a new generation that rhyming was only a rule. Free verse became his way to fully express the freedom and love he felt. Whitman was revolutionary in the way he wrote, thought, and believed.

In “Song of Myself”, Whitman describes his thoughts, raw and untamed for the world to read. He empowered his readers to bear their souls, at the expense of getting hurt, if at least you learn something out of it.

“Creeds and schools in abeyance,

Retiring back a while sufficed at what they are, but never forgotten,

I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard,

Nature without check with original energy.” (Whitman 23).


He celebrates his inward life in the first lines of the poem, “I celebrate myself and sing myself.” (22) and goes on to describe the scenery of Brooklyn and how outwardly superficial it all feels. Whitman is starting to look at every flaw, but instead of pitying himself he celebrates every atom of weakness and breathing in every moment through the eyes of an enthusiastic dreamer and eclectic visionary.

He invites his readers to see the world through eyes of radicals, dreamers, rebels, stargazers, and idealists. He invites one’s soul to express whatever it was put on this Earth to express. He looks for his divine purpose. His roots were firmly planted with the publication of Leaves of Grass. During a time of chaos, judgement, political uprising, and war, Walt ravished the literary scene with poetry free of judgement or criticism. Democracy, plainly, is the radical approach that friendship and comradery are essential for any nation or human to strive. In “Song of Myself” you can almost feel as if his words are being shouted from a bohemian New York City rooftop. Whitman longs to befriend everyone, strangers becoming the closest of confidants; unity through comradery. His ideals and vision of a country enriched by diversity was beyond progressive. He believed that democracy was not just for the political system, but a lifestyle of which to partake. Whitman chose to drink the juice of life by sipping it fast and loud, for all to hear and see. Oh, how our generation now would benefit from such advice!

The love of democracy, nature, and owning an adventurous soul is what brought Whitman life experiences that allowed him to write so eloquently. Whitman wrote Leaves of Grass for the people who wanted more out of life and who saw more in America and the potential of her future. The idea that comradery could be felt more than just by men at war, but it could be experienced by two women, a man and a woman, two men, a group of people was his goal. Democracy, to Whitman, was the idea that love was equal, but must be sought out and discovered for oneself so it can then become a cause to truly stand behind and fight for. Whitman believed that to experience unity, democracy and freedom one must first believe in it, which beckons the soul to strive and fight for it, which turns into an ideology. He also thought that everyone, even the common man, should have access to poetry and the ability to write freely. Before Whitman, a long line of European descended poetry rigidly structured with rules and pentameters and guidelines made up the repertoire of what was considered beautiful and acceptable forms of poetry.

European poetry functioned as a staunch set of rules to Whitman, not a freedom of expression. For our rebellious and patriotic Whitman, this was another opportunity to break the rules and show his true self. He broke the mold and wrote beautifully welded lines of poetry, staying true to his form of writing; free verse. He toyed with rhyming structures in one poem, which just so happens to be one of the book’s most famous poems, “O Captain!My Captain”. In the first verse alone we can see Whitman’s argument for loyalty and comradery uniting any and all who allow it to, especially through democracy as this was included in his section on remembering Lincoln:

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,

The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,

The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,

While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;

            But O heart! heart! heart!

                            O the bleeding drops of red,

                               Where on the deck my Captain lies,

                                  Fallen cold and dead.           


Whitman conjured delicate and wounded lines to deliver a rich analogy of a war he was a part of and shares grievous words for a man he loved. Whitman’s treasured utopia was shattered when Abraham Lincoln, the captain of his beloved ship, America, was savagely gunned down.  Democracy was still to be celebrated, even in death, and Whitman implores that even though his captain is dead, the ship is anchored safe and sound from her voyage. The captain paid the ultimate price, while the ship was docked safely to her shore. Was that not the true calling of every soldier on the battlefield? To finish his orders and serve his country?

Whitman felt the sting of grief through losing Abraham Lincoln and other comrades during the Civil War, and it pulled him to write two of the most remembered and remarkable mourning poems of all time. His comradery with Lincoln can be felt in the lines of the poem “O Captain, My Captain”. The reader is pulled emotionally into the relationship the writer has with his captain of whom he distinctively adores. Whitman speaks as a soldier in this poem, speaking to the hearts of men specifically. Men who would understand the righteous and high calling of the servitude of being a soldier and a protector of democracy.

The solemnity can be felt through the poem’s structure, as it mimics men marching in sync with one another. A beautiful analogy of sullen soldiers walking step by step to the cadence of their drummer on their way to battle. The elusive rhyming structure Whitman ran away from he welcomed with opened arms for his captain. Whitman also utilized the theme of individualism and democracy. He was celebrating the end of the war and the win for democracy, but struggling to balance it with the grief and pain he felt from losing Lincoln. The end of the Civil War brought a stabilization of the Union, a desperate longing for Whitman and most of America during that time. Whitman believed that integrated beliefs in something as pure as a state of democracy could change an entire generation.

In some form or another, spirituality always came up as a recurring subject to Whitman. He was intrigued and fascinated by it, as so many of his poems speculate and contemplate heavenly questions. Whitman wrote poetry in the same fashion and length as Bible verses. He threw the rule book of writing poetry out of the window and begin his trailblazing career without rhyming, but stylistically wrote traditionally, as if the pages came right out of the Bible. His prose seems to stretch all the way off of the page. His long thoughts are only interrupted by more thoughts. He allows his stream of consciousness to take over, allowing self, God, and his pen to do the talking for him. The truest form of expression.

Whitman focused on the spiritual state of one’s soul and focused frequently on the impact of life and death. How we live is essential to our happiness and Whitman dedicated his life to singing that truth, even if it involves mourning the passing of a loved one. This theme is picturesque of the state of Whitman’s heart and country, the democratic poet was writing poetry that matched what America was going through and so the common man was moved by his words. First published in 1865 with the end of the war and the death of his beloved president, Whitman chants loudly in his second grief poem, When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d about mourning the passing of loved ones post-Civil War and again, after the assassination of Lincoln.

“Blossoms and branches green to coffins all I bring,

For fresh as the morning, thus would I chant a song for you O sane and sacred death.”

This showed his appreciation for life and the idea that death is to be respected.


Whitman had a way with words when it came to eulogizing the dead. Although Lincoln’s “O Captain” was the only poem in which Whitman rhymed, this poem brought forth the imagery everyone in the country was feeling on a day to day basis. His poetry spoke to the masses. He didn’t need to rhyme to convey his point. Anyone who had experienced loss during the bloodiest war in America’s history could read this poem and feel the words. His poem allowed for the mourners to mourn, but also celebrating the end of death. After the Civil War, the country was not only split in two, but death haunted almost every single household. Whitman’s poetry touched the heart of the common man because it was written in a way that could be understood and it spoke rather fervently about the nature of a man’s soul and the comradery felt amongst fellow man. The ultimate comradery, however, to Whitman, that the soul has is between itself and a Higher Power. Whitman’s idealism of religion was that it could be fluid and meaningful without needing to stick to rule or regulation. Just like his poetry; love without rules.

More often than not, authors do not live to see their work adored by fans. Lucky for Whitman, he was able to see some stardom in his days as a writer. His obsession with republishing and revising Leaves of Grass was almost instinctive. Whitman’s idea of revisiting and rewriting his texts was another form of democracy and he allowed himself to be reborn each and every time he decided to republish it. He bought a small house and spent the rest of his days writing revisions. His many revisions brought new poems and brought new perspectives from the man who labeled America “the greatest poem”. Whitman always stayed with the theme of democracy and stuck it out until the end, including living it out. Whitman allowed the democracy of the country he loved to define his soul and he wanted others to share in the same experience.


During the American Civil War, Walt Whitman helped to unite America through poetry and expression, thus creating individuals through comradery in several forms which in turn contributes, even to this day, to the cultivation of society through the betterment of self through philosophical thinking, education, art, democracy, and honoring oneself and one’s country through service. Just like grass, democracy will take a long time to fully flourish, but for Walt he was able to at least put the seed in the ground and start the process for many generations to come.



I tip my hat to you, sir. Thank you for your writings and your outspoken flare that sparked a fire in the Transcendental hearts of many a wandering soul along the journey of life. Thank you for your poetry, a gift I will forever cherish.





Pictures via Getty Images/Google

The Old Men and The Sea

All my life I have strived to be somewhat of a hero like Ernest Hemingway or Mark Twain. They were fishing heroes and incredible writers, and one wrote right alongside my triple great grandfather during their stint together fighting in the Civil War. Both Hemingway and Twain managed to be a part of, or directly engaged, in some of the most fascinating wars of our time, from driving ambulances in World War I to scouting for the Confederacy in Missouri. The first, Mr. Ernest Hemingway, was a man’s man, an avid outdoorsman who prided himself on the sizes of his trophy animals that he always seemed to lure in, shoot, reel up, or just plain kill. He found himself in love with the warmer regions of Key West and, especially the lower Caribbean, such as Cuba.  The funny thing about Hemingway is that he did mostly all of his writing from his bedroom. Considering he spent over half of his time fishing off of boats, that is one heck of a feat if you ask me! The other weird tick he carried into his writing was his incessant need to be standing at all times. Maybe that is why from pictures I can see his massive calve muscles!

Hemingway preferred to stand while he wrote. His calf muscles look like they benefitted from this discipline.

In 1938, he established a world record by catching seven marlin in one day. He was also the first person to ever boat a giant tuna in an undamaged state.

Ernest Hemingway with Wife Pauline and Children, Bimini, 1935

Hemingway was a bit of a cavalier angler and his catch needed respect. During a normal fishing trip to the Bahamas in 1935, he immediately opened fire on a group of sharks with a Thompson submachine-gun like Al Capone to stop them scavenging the insanely huge tuna he was trying to pull in. Unfortunately, as with more blood comes more sharks, so the explosion of blood simply caused them to attack his catch with even greater tenacity and soon his tuna was eaten whole.



From Mark Twain, or Samuel L. Clemens, we know of such stories as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and the story (Roughing It) he wrote while participating in the Civil War, as a Missouri man and somewhat peculiar soldier. He was best buds with my great, great, great grandfather, Captain Absalom Grimes of Missouri. I believe they met while running steamships back and forth on the Mississippi. Absalom’s dad and uncle were captains, so I believe while he was working on the boats he formed a bond with my 3XG grandfather. However, Twain was only a steamboat pilot for two years. His career was cut short by the Civil War in 1861. Most people do not realize he penned his own name. Mark Twain was a pen name he picked up while writing for the Virginia City newspaper, which he first wrote under in 1863.He also wrote under Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass, W. Epaminondas Adrastus Blab, Sergeant Fathom, and Rambler during his career. Halley’s Comet transverses the Earth’s skies every 75 years. Mark Twain just so happened to be born following Halley’s comet, and in 1909 he predicted that he would die right along with Halley’s comet the next year. Just as Mark Twain predicted, he passed the night after the comet lit up the sky at the age of 75. It was the second death he predicted, the first being his brother’s.

Twain predicted he would die along with the passing of Haley’s Comet. He was right.

“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

-Mark Twain


A North Florida #girlswhofish alumni who pulled in a huge sheephead from Mayport, Florida

The most strange and elusive fish in the Atlantic. With human teeth and the ability to bite bait upside down you’ll have a hard time catching this guy!

This time of year – when I think about fishing I think about one fish in particular. The elusive, strange, human-toothed fish that is quite possible the hardest thing to catch in North Florida! The Sheepshead are biting like crazy off of Mayport right now if you can believe it. You’ll find plenty of decent keeper sheepshead at the Big Jetties, Little Jetties Park, and surrounding areas. Look for markers – especially navigation markers and docks which are known producers of plenty of biting action. A good way to tell a productive dock from a dead one is by checking, looking, and keeping an eye out overlooking the pilings at lower tides. If the pilings have little to no barnacle or oyster growth on them, keep looking till you find one that does. This is crucial for forming habitats that the fish flock to. Another thing to consider is water depth. Shallow docks with less than four feet of water will either hold juvenile sheepshead or none at all. This is an issue that many docks, especially in Mayport and Ft. Caroline areas, will have riprap on the bottom near or around them. Many home owners throw construction debris such as concrete blocks off their docks to create habitat for fishing. This isn’t necessarily for the rest of us- however, that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of it. After years of flounder fishing in the area, I’ve found a number of good riprap piles around docks. But with the good also comes the bad. Keep trying different spots if you don’t get any bites. This kind of debris is more common than you might think. Some docks also contain riprap for the purpose of preventing bottom errosion around the pilings. This is especially common around aids to navigation. Most AID’s will have rocks piled around the base of their pilings. Just because you only see two or often times, one piling, don’t rule it out. The spot may not look like much at the surface but the bottom could have several square yards of rocky structure surrounding it. Many of them do. There are a number of baits that will catch sheepshead. The most common is the fiddler crab. However, oysters, live shrimp, clams, and muscles will also catch sheepshead.

Excerpts taken from St. Augustine Sheepshead (

Thanks to Florida Sportsman for writing such amazing articles. Be sure to give them a read because they are at the top of the game when it comes to sports fishing in the Sunshine State.

Coffee + Milk




That thing of which we must partake.

The elixir of life, really.

One thing many don’t realize is that coffee’s origins are from Africa, not South America, but in a (then tiny village) of  Ethiopia. The coffee grew wild and the villagers first collected the berries to feast on the flesh of the actual berry – a red, luscious and juicy fruit, not what was bean-ethe (;P) and  (somehow knew) to roast that joker to perfection. Alas! That black elixir of life was created!

The problem nowadays is people seem to know a much ado about nothing when it comes to coffee. Pardon me, people know way too much about what they hear from Starbucks. For instance, a macchiato, one of the most beloved drinks of all time has been demolished and re-concocted as an idiot’s drink. A macchiato is a double shot of espresso with a few dollops of foam. It is not a caramel-infested, sugar-laced, iced mess that is a Caramel Macchiato from the Green Mermaid.

The Americano is one of my favorite drinks and it comes with no surprise, that in fact it came to be with some historical origins. The drink was created in Post World World 2 Italy where American soldiers spent much of their time drinking the bitter and strong espresso. To lessen the blow, baristas there, or most likely the drinker himself added hot water to taste. Tada! The Americano was born.

I love making coffee for people. You can really tell a lot about a person by what they order. I had a regular customer come in (Relampago Coffee Lab in Downtown St. Augustine – FANTASTIC COFFEE) for his usual Americano. He ordered it every single day. After weeks of ordering the same drink I asked him if he knew the origins. His guess? “Cuba? During the Bay of Pigs?” Wrong area, wrong time period, buddy, but good try.

For good coffee without all of the fuss, try Relampago Coffee in beautiful Downtown St. Augustine, Florida. Their coffee will astound you in more ways then one – and if that doesn’t – then the ambience will. Clean white, modern lines, minimal plants, and wood accents. Simple & pleasant to behold.

Even Darth Vader approved….IMG_3134.JPGMay The Force Be With You // Funny, that bonsai looks an awful lot like Groot from Guardians of The Galaxy. 

Check them out locally or visit the site I created for them. Remember the name of Relampago Coffee – they have the most premium coffee in St. Augustine. Boasting locally roasted, sustainable, seasonal beans that are ground to perfection to make any latte, pour over, or Americano the best cup of coffee you might ever have!

It is located off of 74 Spanish St. right next to The Floridian – A southern, farm-to-table, chef’s chef’s restaurant that has become a staple in Downtown St. Augustine cuisine. They even have Mexican Coke in a glass bottle! Be sure to check them out as well!